What is Invasive Breast Cancer?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Oct 19, 2012

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What is Invasive Breast Cancer

Invasive breast cancer is a form of cancer which originates in the milk-producing lobules or ducts and spreads to the outside of the lobule or duct membrane into the breast tissue. The cancer can metastasise to the lymph nodes in the armpit or beyond while worsening a patient’s condition. Here’s all the necessary information on invasive breast cancer to help you prevent its onset or control its symptoms.

[Read: Screening of Breast Cancer]


Types of Invasive Breast Cancer

Invasive Ductal Breast Cancer (IDC) — Also known as invasive ductal carcinoma, this cancer type accounts for almost 70-80 per cent of invasive breast cancer cases.  IDC begins in the milk ducts of the breasts and then, breaks through the duct tubes to invade the surrounding breast tissues. Cancerous cells of invasive ductal carcinoma may enter the bloodstream or affect the lymphatic system and metastasise to the other sites of the body. IDC is characterised by a hard and irregularly-shaped mass present beneath the areola or nipple.

Infiltrating/Invasive Lobular Carcinoma (ILC) — Almost 10-15 per cent of invasive breast cancer cases are identified as invasive lobular carcinoma. ILC originates in the milk-producing lobules that fill ducts with milk. This malignancy breaks through the lobule walls and infiltrates tissues of the breast area. Late diagnosis of this cancer may lead the cancer to invade the lymph nodes and other parts of the body.


[Read: Genetic Breast Cancer Risk Factors]


Symptoms of Invasive Breast Cancer

While doing regular self-examination of your breast, you may notice these changes in your breast:

  • pea-sized lump in the breast or armpits
  • discharge from the nipple
  • pain in the lump
  • changes in the menstrual cycles
  • inverted nipples
  • visible change in the size and the shape of the breast
  • skin of the breast may become reddened, dimpled, scaly or puckered
  • presence of hard mass beneath the breast skin.



Risk Factors of Invasive Breast Cancer

The risk of occurrence of invasive breast cancer increases with age. Two out of every three women diagnosed for invasive breast cancer are 55 or above opposed to one out of every eight women under the age of 45.  The other risk factors include—

  • family history of the disease
  • genetics 
  • exposure to radiation
  • obesity
  • alcohol intake
  • diet.

Treatment of Invasive Breast Cancer

Invasive breast cancer can be treated by local treatments, such as surgery and radiation therapy and systematic treatments that include chemotherapy, hormone therapy and biologic therapy. These treatments aim to control or destroy cancerous cells that have metastasised to other sites of the body. Your oncologist may choose a single treatment option or a combination of two or more treatments.


[Read: Chemotherapy Treatment for Breast Cancer]


The choice of the treatment course for invasive breast cancer depends on the size and location of the tumour, breast cancer stage, patient’s menopause status, patient’s age and general health condition.


Read more articles on Breast Cancer.


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